10 Questions with ... Rick Thomas
April 19, 2016
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
KVGB-A-F/Great Ben, KS. I was all of 15 and I harassed the PD until she finally hired me so I would stop bothering her. I did news/weather breaks on the weekends. Once the radio bug got inside of me it has never left! Early influences were Rick Dees, Mancow, Stern, the legendary WLS/Chicago and Phil Hendrie, who I believe is incredibly gifted/talented.
2) How long have you been at KICT (T95) and what makes this station so unique?
I have been at T95 for 16 years and it goes quickly believe me. This station is unique in that it is a legendary flagship Rock station in the Midwest. Our listeners are extremely passionate and by far the best listeners on the planet bar none. They truly feel as though they are a part this station; we would not have it any other way and the people in this building are simply amazing. There is a reason I have been here as long as I have.
3) Besides being MD for T95, you also do the afternoon show. Do you do any special features in afternoon drive?
Variety will always be the spice of life. I constantly do what I can to reinvent my show and bring new things to the table. I am currently featuring a "What's Your Excuse" segment in which listeners text/call me with a song and a good excuse to stop everything and just drop it in real quick. I am also constantly implementing topics of the day like cage matches on occasion and, of course, giveaways featuring everything from concert tickets to passes to the Ren fair. Interaction is the key. I like to heavily involve my audience in everything. They should never be just onlookers. They should always get their share of playing time.
4) Now let's talk about the morning show of Todd and Tyler on T95. How is this morning show performing?
Todd and Tyler have performed very well for T95 in the mornings. Their show is custom made for our 25-54 male target demo. What makes them work so well is the simple fact they are so easy to relate to and when you listen to them it is almost as if you are hanging out in a local pub with your closest friends, just talking about things that guys talk about, not to mention the fact they are entertaining as well as flat out funny.
5) Besides T95, your cluster includes a Classic Rock station KFXJ (The Fox). How do you guys program each station so you're not sharing much of the same library music?
It is definitely a challenge. We do share the sandbox and sometimes that can be tricky and yes, they do share some artists such as AC/DC and Def Leppard. But at the end of the day, their core artists include bands such as The Eagles, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and bands that definitely define them as classic rock, bands that you will simply not hear on T95 and bands that are much more geared for an older target demo.
6) A couple of years back, an Alternative station KTHR was launched in the market. How has this new competitor affected, if any, the music position for T95 and The Fox?
I would say it really hasn't affected The Fox much. T95, on the other hand, has definitely made some adjustments as the result of their presence. We are now featuring bands such as The Struts and Muse in current rotation. We have definitely not shifted our position by any means but we have opened up a little more, which I think is a good thing.
7) As the MD for T95, What's your take on current Rock music and the Active Rock format as a whole?
The pendulum swings. Is the format as strong as it was say 10 years ago? I would say yes and no, because on paper it certainly does not appear to be as health. However, when you go to Rocklahoma or Rockfest in Kansas City and Rock on the Range, you see crowds numbering in the 50,000-plus range per day. It's hard to argue with that. What makes the Rock format tick is its refusal to play fair or to play by the rules. As long as rock culminates an attitude that openly loves to stick it to the man, so to speak, there will be a place for it.
8) Name three "new" Rock bands that are performing well for T95.
Volbeat. FFDP. Cage the Elephant.
9) How much does T95 use its website and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the listener experience?
We use social media daily and often hourly. Is an absolute must and not only do our jocks constantly blog, we also constantly update content on T95's Facebook page and encourage listener interaction when we do so. It is an area of growth that we absolutely must take advantage of. We also utilize Twitter often with the amount of shows/events we are involved with Twitter is a crucial element for us.
10) Finally, what do you like to do outside of "radio mode" to have fun and relax?
I am a HUGE sports nut so during the summer months it is not uncommon to find me at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City (baseball is magic and I LOVE IT! Go Yankees!) and of course, Arrowhead during football season (no better tailgating on the planet, I promise). I also like to go to the gym in my off hours as well as out-of-market shows.
You're stuck on a desert island with only five CDs to play ... what are they and why?
- Pink Floyd ... Division Bell (grew up on Pink Floyd ... LOVE Division Bell)
- Shinedown The Sound of Madness (their lyrics are, simply put, brain candy)
- Foo Fighters Greatest Hits ... Grohl is pure genius
- GNR Appetite for Destruction ... only one of the greatest rock albums ever produced
- Metallica The Black Album/Kid Rock Devil Without a Cause ... coin flip on those two.